Jeremy Denk, a literate pianist, to perform in Costa Mesa

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Pianist Jeremy Denk, who performs Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 Thursday through Saturday with the Pacific Symphony, is a musical magpie.

The 46-year-old native of Durham, N.C., is known for his wide-ranging curiosities. In New York, where he lives and teaches, Denk recently gave an unusual solo concert: 23 works spanning 600 years, from a wistful lament by the 14th-century French composer Guillaume de Machaut to an intimidating and obtuse 1985 etude by Gyorgy Ligeti.

Denk is also a well-respected writer and essayist. In major publications, liner notes and his blog, “Think Denk,” he has written about many issues of classical music: the mentor-protégée relationship, the endless decisions of interpretation, making his art form meaningful to a wider audience. Denk’s combination of musical and literary talents won him a MacArthur Foundation “genius”…

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